Historic Sites of Manitoba: West Prospect School No. 112 (RM of Portage la Prairie)
The first school in this region, established in 1876 and named Prospect by a settler because “there was a prospect of starvation”. Four years later, as the population of the area grew, the district was split in two, with the eastern part becoming organized as East Prospect School and the western part as West Prospect School. In 1881, a school building was erected on the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of 23-12-7 west of the Principal Meridian, in the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie, on land purchased from Jennie Philip for $25.
Over the years, the original school building underwent renovations, including the addition of a basement (with toilets and washing facilities) and a front porch, and replacement of its exterior siding. The initial box stove was replaced by a Quebec heater then by an oil-fueled furnace in the basement.
In 1965, West Prospect School closed and its remaining nine students went to Prairie Central Consolidated School No. 2456. The building was moved to Fort La Reine Museum in Portage la Prairie and the land was sold to a local farmer. A monument at the site commemorates it.
The teachers at West Prospect School included John A. Ingram, Annette Gunne, Alice Laut, I. McInnis, K. Shillinglaw, Annie Fraser, S. E. Campbell, Mary Moir, Laura Williams, Edmund G. Todd (1897), Mary Louise Pickering, Lillian Berry, W. Dowell Bayley, William Gordon, Florence P. Hall, Maude Bowman, Annie E. Bowman, Alice P. Fletcher, Jennie Sullivan, Orma W. LaRoche, Arma Drysdale, Gertie Bradley, Anna Drysdale, Cecil James Hutchings, Mabel Demman, Margaret G. Tidsbury, Lorena Brown, Ruth Pringle, Jessie Ames, Agnes Stevens, Lila Trimble, Irene Lusk, Ethel Keats, Alice Comte, Anne Cruikshank, George F. Thomson, William C. Warren, Alice Giles, Doreen MacMillan, John Suderman, Lucelle Blair, Flora Sampson, Flora Bell, Beverly Heintz, Joanne Verwey, Margaret Froese, and Elizabeth Wall.
“The Indian famine fund,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 March 1897, page 4.
One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.
A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 1994, 230 pages.
Rural Schools of Portage la Prairie School Division #24 by Muriel Wright, 1996.
We thank Nathan Kramer and George Penner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 July 2022